If you went to bed early last night, good morning and welcome back to the Rob Ford Show. In the news: The Coles Notes version of all things relating to Rob Ford’s decision to take a leave of absence, a mystery donor leaves $2 million to the Toronto Zoo, and the TCHC parts ways with yet another senior staffer.
So it goes. The short of it is that Mayor Rob Ford has taken a leave of absence from his mayoral duties and re-election campaign to seek treatment for substance abuse issues. In a statement, Mayor Ford admitted—once again—to having a problem with alcohol, and said that “after taking some time to think about my own well-being, how to best serve the people of Toronto and what is in the best interests of my family, I have decided to take a leave from campaigning and from my duties as mayor to seek immediate help.”
The you-know-what started to hit the fan last night, when the Toronto Sun obtained audio of Ford making racist and misogynistic remarks while allegedly drinking at an Etobicoke bar called Sullie Gorman’s. The posted audio—which Sun reporter Joe Warmington says is part of a 40-minute recording— was captured by a Ford supporter who gave it to the paper for free in an effort to get the mayor to “smarten up.” It doesn’t end there, though. Not by a long shot. Last night, the Globe and Mail also published a report that it had witnessed a second video of the mayor smoking what was described as crack cocaine by the drug dealer who filmed it last weekend.
The Toronto Star also reported that Mayor Ford began spiralling into substance abuse back around St. Patrick’s Day weekend, when he was seen drinking in excess at Muzik nightclub. He allegedly emerged from a washroom visibly intoxicated, babbling that he was “in over his head.” An eyewitness reports having seen Mayor Ford doing lines of coke at the same club on a different night in April.
No details about Mayor Ford’s plans for treatment have been released yet, but already several city councillors and almost all fellow mayoral candidates have reacted by asking for the mayor’s immediate resignation. Since you were wondering, Jimmy Kimmel also reacted to the news with a seemingly genuine tweet wishing the mayor well.
Now, let’s talk about something a little more fun—free money! Be honest, how many times have you had a dream that a mysterious stranger suddenly bequeaths to you a $2-million inheritance? That lofty dream came true for the Toronto Zoo, according to CEO Robin Hale. While details are scant, apparently the donor—who wishes to remain anonymous—left the $2-million donation from his or her estate, making it the largest single donation in the 40-year existence of the Toronto Zoo. Later today, members of the zoo’s management board will hold a closed-door meeting at City Hall to discuss the donation, which CEO Hale recommends be accepted by the board. An announcement is expected to take place after the board votes on whether or not it will accept the funds.
Finally, another senior staffer has left the Toronto Community Housing Corporation less than a week after CEO Gene Jones was fired from his position. In a statement released yesterday, the agency announced that former human resources vice president Anand Maharaj was no longer with the TCHC by mutual agreement. His leave was effective immediately, and is part of a change in direction of the human resources division of the TCHC, according to the statement. Maharaj, who joined the TCHC in the fall of 2011, leaves with a settlement of $160,000.